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Thursday, May 04, 2006

If a senator speaks but the WaPo doesn't report it, does he exist?

An excerpt from Eric Boehlert's new book "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, looking back on the press's failings with regards to Iraq, suggested, "The media were victims of their own professionalism. Because there was little criticism of the war from prominent Democrats and foreign policy analysts, journalistic rules meant we shouldn't create a debate on our own."

Little criticism of the war from prominent Democrats? In a sense, Ignatius was right and for Post readers that statement may have had a ring of truth to it simply because the Post seemed to do such a masterful job of ignoring prewar criticism from prominent Democrats, like party stalwart Senator Ted Kennedy. In September 2002 he made a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about the war. It garnered exactly one sentence--thirty-six words total--of coverage from the Post, which in 2002 printed more than a thousand articles and columns, totaling perhaps 1 million words about Iraq, but only set aside thirty-six words for Kennedy's antiwar cry.
Ted Kennedy. Robert Byrd, dean of the Senate. Bob Graham. Barbara Boxer. Dennis Kucinich. Barbara Lee. Jimmy Carter. According to Ignatius, not prominent Democrats. Noam Chomsky. Pat Buchanan. Scott Ritter. Nelson Mandela. Brent Scowcroft. Most of the UN Security Council. The friggin' Pope, for Christ's sake! Not qualified foreign policy analysts, apparently, by Ignatius' standards. By ignoring everyone who disagreed with him, Ignatius couldn't find a debate about the Iraq war--and felt honor-bound not to create one! "Victims of their own professionalism?" I'll bet Pravda was never this servile.